Blogtable: Coach Of The Half-Season

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Week 15: New York, Indiana or …? | The Bynum dilemma | Coach of the half-season

Who’s your pick for coach of the half-season?

Steve Aschburner: Gotta go with San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich for posting the league’s best record to this point while masterfully managing both the Spurs’ games and their roster. I’m a big fan of the overachievements so far by both Golden State and Chicago, which earns Mark Jackson and Tom Thibodeau excellent marks here at mid-terms. But San Antonio still is eight or nine games better than both of them and Pop isn’t leaning on any superstar-in-his-prime either. (Honorable mention to ensemble master George Karl in Denver.)

Fran BlineburyMy preseason pick is right on track: Tom Thibodeau. Take the best player off any other top 4 seed in either conference for the entire season and tell me they’re still a top 4 seed.

P.J. Carlesimo, by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty

P.J. Carlesimo, by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty

Jeff Caplan: First I’ll give you the obvious candidates: Tom Thibodeau, Frank Vogel, Mike Woodson, Gregg Popovich, Scott Brooks, Mark Jackson, Terry Stotts and even Lionel Hollins. Vinny Del Negro might be dropping off with the Clippers’ recent struggles even if they have come without Chris Paul. That’s quite a list and all have done great jobs.

Now, here’s my winner for coach of the half-season: P.J. Carlesimo. P.J. took over the Titanic, a sinking luxury (tax) liner with little hope of survival after stubborn star guard Deron Williams crashed into Iceberg Avery. This thing was going down and going down fast in the first eight weeks of a hugely important season in which the franchise had just been rebranded and plopped in a billion-dollar building in Brooklyn. Nothing could have been worse than a season destroyed by the end of December. Talk about pressure. Carlesimo truly saved the day, going 14-6 since taking over for the fired Avery Johnson after a 14-14 start. Hey, who knows how this thing finishes up? But the Nets were on the brink of disaster until Carlesimo pulled it out of icy water and set sail on a course for renewed hope.

Scott Howard-CooperMark Jackson, over Tom Thibodeau and Mike Woodson. Jackson was the Warrior under the most pressure at the start of the season, after the front office delivered a roster ready for the playoffs, and so he gets the credit now that so much has gone right. The reworked defense has produced big results at the same time Golden State is winning with three rookies, succeeding mostly without Andrew Bogut and entirely without Brandon Rush, and with newcomers seamlessly incorporated into important roles.

John Schuhmann: Gregg Popovich. The Spurs have the league’s best record and rank in the top four in both offensive and defensive efficiency, even though they’ve been less-than healthy. Manu Ginobili hasn’t been himself for more than a game or two at a time. And though Tim Duncan is having a throwback season, he currently ranks 93rd in total minutes played. This team is getting great play on both ends of the floor from the top of the roster to the bottom. And I don’t think there’s another coach that can elicit the same kinds of contributions from role players like Danny Green, Tiago Splitter or Gary Neal.

Sekou Smith: Because we’re handing out imaginary trophies for imaginary awards, I might as well split mine in half. Golden State Warriors head man Mark Jackson gets the Western Conference Coach of the Half-Season Award and New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson gets the Eastern Conference Coach of the Half-Season Award. Players have shared season awards before (Grant Hill and Jason Kidd shared Rookie of the Year honors in 1995), so it isn’t completely far-fetched that two coaches would share this award at the halfway mark. Jackson’s Warriors have certainly been a surprise with what they’ve done this season. But it’s hard to overlook what Woodson’s Knicks have done in his first full season at the helm.


  1. here on my opinion, several coaches could deserve to win it, marc jackson from gsw,Tom Thibodeau from chi, mike woodson from the nyk. You already know that the spurs Popovich would get off to a good start but every one thought that the lakers would get off to a hot start that the knicks wouldnt.. i give it to the New York Knicks, Mike Woodson. dispite every teams injuries and everything, hes ket them together, humble and 2 in the eastern cnference, and the knicks are up 2-0 season series over the heat. but there are a few so far who could win it, i give it up to Woodson and the knicks.. GO Knicks#brendonforant

  2. Karlo Garcia says:

    P J Carlisimo for me. What he has done in Brooklyn considering the situation that they were in. It was all going down hill until Nets appoint Carlisimo. He turned a bad position into a good position in a short period of time.

  3. W/E says:

    GREG POPOVICH BEST COACH IN THE LEAGUE BY FAR…the spurs are doing great and popovich deserves another coach of the year award more than anyone else

  4. steppx says:

    also, just an after thought…………I think honestly, from a pure coaching standpoint, Pop gets it. And George karl and Thibs second. Jackson though changed the climate of losing, changed the culture to use a cliche…….and thats just as hard, plus he has also coached very well during games, made adjustments….just been terrific.

  5. steppx says:

    Jackson gets it. Pop and Thibs close. After that it drops off. Nice jobs from Jacque vaughn, Stotts, and Dunlap. All very good. Id say Hollins deserves a hon mention with asterik. And probably doug collins gets an hon mention. Worst job, ty corbin and keith smart.

  6. I guess Knicks are still a joke? says:

    Man… I have been looking at some of these articles… You give the New York Knicks absolutely 0% credit for what they have accomplished.Am I mistaken in saying that just 3 years ago everybody was cracking jokes on the Knicks? Now, they are a legitimate contender in the East and you still ignore them as though they were almost a lottery team. Note to the readers: These were the same pinheads who declarted the Lakers destined champions in the preseason. Need I say more?

  7. just blaze says:

    Pop sure will get my vote anyday with their conservative style of team management and rotation…no big ego players, no show boating, no outrageous salaries in a supposedly low-tv revenue city and still managing to stay in contention each year…Pop does have a midas touch…Am just waiting for a 5th ring for TD and Pop…Spurs all the way !!!

  8. KingLBjBoy says:

    Spo is underrated remember that he is d east all star coach and d raigning champ coach

  9. geotz says:

    Fran forgot about the Spurs, Pop could do it no doubt at all.

  10. S says:

    Hey Fran, the Pacers’ best player for the last 8 seasons was Danny Granger. He’s been out the whole year and the Pacers are 3 in the East.

    You might say that Paul George is the best Pacer now, but he just stepped up when Danny went out in the same way the Bulls have stepped up big without Derrick Rose.

  11. kristofer miraflor says:

    why not give the best coach to whoever the coach of the top teams on each conference…spoelstra and popovich

  12. vern says:

    I’m surprised at how many don’t have Mike Woodson in their thoughts. The Knicks were the joke of the whole league until Woody took over. Thibodeau did a good job without the team star, but the rest of the team were no slouches and are right where I expected them to be. Popovich has a crew that’s used to playing together for a few seasons so he IMO has done nothing but maintain their good standings. P J Carlesimo is a interim which in my opinion leaves him off the list, plus the Nets are seriously overrated. Mark Jackson would be the only other deserving coach. No one expected Golden State to be playing the way they are. The Knicks have been a joke for a few seasons and this season is filled with injuries.Putting the question “can Melo and Stoudemire play together” to bed. Coach Woodson has the Knicks rolling. Playing defense, offense, inside and outside, and they are still improving.

  13. kristofer miraflor says:

    how about spoelstra?he have done terrific coaching with the big three….and they are atop the eastern conference…not because he has an asian blood…..poor spo

  14. dattebayo says:

    So Erik Spoelstra won’t ever get credit for doing a good job? After all, the Heat are #1 in the East despite being the worst rebounding team in the league. Don’t get me wrong, I think Thibs and Pop are better coaches than Spo, but he deserves a mention at the very least.

    • jose says:

      Spo is the best video-boy turned into a coach. He is lost
      Miami is #1 because of LBJ.
      Get rid of him and Miami flies away from the rest.
      #1 in the east but #5 in the west
      I zm a Miami Heat Fan

    • tijsadams says:

      Even though you are completely right he won’t ever get recognition because of the talent on his team. And adding to that the high expectations for his team and them slightly underachieving I don’t think he will ever get recognition. He hardly got any after he won a championship last year.